Roxy’s Best Of…Chester, NJ

The Best of Chester, NJ, from kid stuff (including summer camp) to restaurants to shopping


Shout Out to Panera Bread in Chester, NJ: Get There Tonight Before 8:00pm!!

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A huge shout out to Panera Bread in Chester, NJ for their hard work on the West Morris Mendham High School Music Boosters fundraiser. London, in the midst of tech rehearsals for the Mendham HS Spring musical, Chicago. alerted me that tonight (Thursday, February 28) is Panera Night…because from 4pm to 8pm, bring in the flyer from this post and a portion of the proceeds from your dinner will support the Mendham HS Music Boosters. Of course, most of the musical kids are busy with the musical tonight, so London took Panera orders and collected cash from 25 of her friends, and another mom and I placed the orders one at a time with the patient Panera cashier while the amazing staff assembled them behind the scenes….we started at 4pm and were on our way to the high school with two gigantic bags of “You Pick Two” orders of mac ‘n’ cheese and grilled cheese, chicken noodle soup, chicken Caesar salad, bread bowls full of bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, and assorted beverages.

I have to admit, I was getting hungry just typing up all the kids orders and pricing them out on the Panera online menu. So, after making the big delivery to the cast of Chicago, I sent Rex and Maddie out to Panera with the flyer and my dinner order…You Pick Two baja mac n cheese and a four-cheese grilled cheese sandwich….they should be home any minute.

Sarah, the manager, told us it was Panera’s first fundraiser in their relatively new Chester location….sure hope it’s a win-win for Mendham HS Music Boosters and Panera.


Look, Look. See Roxy Spin! See Roxy Pump! What’s Going On Here?

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So I took a pretty long break from blogging, but as London gets ready to graduate from high school, I’m tiptoeing back into the blogosphere with a post about NitroFlex Gym in Chester, NJ, where I spin with Debbie every Wednesday morning, Pump with Shannon on Mondays, and try to do HIIT with Heather on Fridays. Even Rex has gotten into the act, taking NitroRow classes with Dave on Tuesday mornings. I’ll be quick to admit, I’m still not an exercise enthusiast, but the classes keep me motivated to show up 3 to 5 times per week.

I have been a NitroFlex member since September 2015, when I went to my first “spin” class…a Wednesday morning with Debbie. My husband Rex will tell you I am much happier *reading* about exercise than actually exercising, and I had read about “spinning” in an extraordinary book, “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry S. Lodge…it sounded like fun so I thought I would give it a try. I was lucky to take my first spin class with Debbie, who I have come to know as “the gentle trainer.” Although she shouts encouragement (”You’re stronger than you think!” “Pass someone!”), Debbie means it when she assures us that it is “our ride,” and no one is checking to see how fast I’m going or how much tension I’ve applied to my bike. Sometimes I look in the mirror next to me and say, “Hey, that old lady looks pretty weak, I think I can taker her!” In 45 minutes, a core group of about 8 of us (plus any newbies, students home from college, or other drop-ins) have “Cardio for Breakfast” to start our day with music pumping…Debbie creates a new playlist each week, including songs for sprints, jumps, and hills, and will take requests the night before.


Cupcake Wars: Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe in Chester, NJ

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London and Maddie still don’t eat many vegetables, so they can live without Top Chef’s gourmet meals, but they love each and every one of the reality TV baking/dessert shows…we started our addiction two years ago when my sweet niece Candy was a judge on Top Chef Just Desserts, and Santa brought the girls their very own Next Great Baker chef coats and hats last Christmas.  Since then, London and Maddie have been baking up a storm.  Thanks to Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, we’ve learned about Chester’s very own Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe and can’t wait to give their cupcakes a try.

Check out Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe57 Main Street, Chester, NJ 07930.  Phone:  908-879-3869


Pure Form 2012 - Ballet Forte Showcase at Bickford Theatre in Morristown Thursday, June 14th 2012

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Pure Form 2012, the Ballet Forte Showcase coming to the Bickford Theatre in Morristown on Thursday, June 14th at 7:30pm, celebrates the achievements of some of New Jersey’s most talented young dancers.

Join Ballet Forte New Jersey founder and artistic director Andrea Kramer for an evening of classical, ballet and contemporary dance, showcasing the rising stars of Ballet Forte (including London!!) in original works choreographed by Adam Barruch, Sidra Bell, Alex Biegelson, Tyner Dumortier, Maureen Glennon, Andrea Kramer, Nicole Smith, Suzie Taylor and Meagan Woods.

Pure Form 2012 also features special guest artists Randy James Dance Works performing one of their most dynamic pieces, Pillar of Salt.

Last September, London started Division II classes with Ballet Forte in Chester, NJ and she absolutely loves it. When I first saw London at the barre with artistic director Andrea Kramer, I knew that she was home. I can’t wait to see her perform in Pure Form 2012…get your tickets here if you’d like to join me.

Ballet Forte at Wings Conservatory, 338 Main Street, Suite 2, Chester, NJ. Phone: (908) 879-8717.


London Ready for Fall Dance Classes at Ballet Forte in Chester, NJ

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Through dance and softball, my two daughters, London and Maddie, have found their respective passions. I’ve always believed that having that kind of passion is a positive for everything in life. For me, it was radio stations. I dreamed of becoming a disc jockey and owning radio stations, and always found a way to write about radio for my school assignments…from high school through graduate school…and it truly shaped my life to where I am/who I am today. As their dance rehearsals and softball practice involve a greater commitment (four or five days a week), I hope that London and Maddie’s non-academic pursuits will enhance, rather than hinder, their success at school. So far, so good…our family just doesn’t have time to watch much television, which none of us really miss.

I don’t know where London got her graceful genes, but as she’s grown up she’s only become a more beautiful, confident dancer. The closest I get to dance is the audience when London is performing, or reading about it, most recently revisiting Martha Graham’s Autobiography, Blood Memory:

“I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”

“To practice means to perform, in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”

So in September, London moves on to begin Division II classes with Ballet Forte in Chester, NJ… a pre-professional dance conservatory dedicated to the development of each dancer as an individual. For the past seven years, Ballet Forte has offered dancers ages 5 to 18 a place to grow, focusing on personalized attention….they look at the whole dancer as an artist whose instrument is her body. When London joined Ballet Forte for a trial lesson this spring, I saw her at the barre and knew that she was home.

Ballet Forte at Wings Conservatory, 338 Main Street, Suite 2, Chester, NJ. Phone: (908) 879-8717.


What to Expect When You’re Expecting…a Puppy. Family Dog Clinics at Well Bred in Chester, NJ.

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It’s been just about a year since I reported to our loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives and Roxy’s Best Of… readers that we had added our first cockapoo puppy, Peanut Butter, to our family. And just like I had my two girls 13 months apart, we’re expecting again…a Cockapoo sister for Peanut Butter, 8-week-old Honey…is due next weekend.  Right now, it feels like I’m taking care of an energetic toddler while being nine months pregnant, getting ready for the new baby and working hard to finish things up at the office ahead of maternity leave in less than a week. Last year, Maddie planned for months, doing research and learning how to take some of the responsibility for training and grooming our new arrival. Getting ready for Peanut Butter, I read and studied “Puppies For Dummies as well as the Dog Whisperer’s “How to Raise the Perfect Dog” by Cesar Millan and ordered his six DVD Boxed Set as “a present for Maddie.” This time around, with Honey on the way, I’m skimming through the books this weekend as if I were cramming for an exam.  Off to Petco for a second set of food and water bowls, more bully sticks, find where we stored PB’s old puppy-size bed when she outgrew it.  Plan on sleep deprivation and puppy-proofing the house.
Next weekend, we have a big weekend planned.  London and Maddie have the annual Lemon Ball at Mendham Township Elementary School on Friday night, followed by their softball championship game on Saturday morning, hopefullly followed by an ice cream celebration at Penguin in Bernardsville.  Then it’s off to Pleasant Valley, New York with the whole family, including Peanut Butter, to pick up our new cockapoo puppy at Mulberry Farm.
We need Puppy Nanny 911 (again!)… stat!
Lucky for Roxy, we have just such a service right here in Mendham, NJ… Justine Schuurmans and The Family Dog to the rescue!! Justine is a kinder, gentler local dog whisperer (better, safer, positive — consequences and kindness — training techniques) right here in Morris County, NJ. She’s also a fellow Mendham Township Elementary School mother who came to our rescue when Peanut Butter arrived on the scene last year.
The Family Dog is a local Morris and Somerset County service just like Super Nanny or Nanny 911, only for dogs! What I’ve learned from my Dog Whisperer books and videos so far is that while it’s great to take your new puppy to obedience school, it’s the people who really need the training, and most families need help where it counts - at home. That’s where The Family Dog comes in…. two fun-loving, long-time professional dog trainers who are juggling a full schedule, with four dogs and four children under six between them. They both teach classes at St. Huberts, but realize that families need a different kind of help.
The Family Dog is the only dog training company in the area that is specifically designed for FAMILIES! When I first spoke with Justine, I realized that their approach is really designed to fit in with my busy schedule…and, as I remind both my loyal readers and my mother, I’m not really a housewife, nor do I play one on TV… I’m a full-time investment banker and mother of two. Clearly I need to make time for our new puppy, but it is great to know that Justine understands and can help me to develop a schedule that enables the whole family to share the responsibility for Peanut Butter. No matter how long you’ve had your dog, The Family Dog has a program that will ensure the best possible future for him or her. Justine and/or her partner, Leah Hatley (who is based out of Morristown, NJ), can help prepare you and your family for a new dog, give your puppy the best start in life, create good habits for your adolescent dog, and help your children learn the best ways to respect and nurture your four-legged friend. Each of your training sessions will be conveniently held in your own home.
That means NO traveling, NO scheduling conflicts and you will be practicing in the place you need it most!
Maddie and London adore Justine, who met with me pre-Peanut Butter to do some puppy-proofing and gave the girls a private session before our puppy arrived to give all of us the info and training we need to set off on the right foot. She brought one of her own dogs to coach us and let the girls practice on, so they felt like experts when Peanut Butter came home with us. Justine helped us through all of the early puppy (and family) training, and now PB sits, lies down, waits for food, and fetches when asked.  More importantly, Maddie and London know how to respond to calm Peanut Butter down when she’s over-excited…and now it’s time to put those skills to good use when Honey arrives.  So much is in the preparation, and now, with another one on the way, we’re back to writing the term paper on the night before it’s due!
The Family Dog, serving Morris and Somerset Counties with DogNanny 911 services from Mendham and Morristown, NJ.

Phone: (973) 910-0364. Be sure to let Justine know that Roxy sent you!!

And now for something new and different from Justine and The Family Dog…Clinics at Well Bred in Chester, NJ.  Your new puppy:  What to do.  What to buy.  And what you can safely ignore.  Learn the dog trainer’s secrets (what the training books won’t tell you) for $25/person or $40/couple on Wednesday, June 8th from 7:00pm-8:30pm.  Thinking about it? Getting one?  Just got one?  Don’t miss your chance to learn EVERYTHING you need to know about owning a new puppy:

  • How to choose the right puppy for your family
  • Preparing your house and your family
  • Buying the right equipment.  What you need and what you don’t.
  • What is “socialization” and why is it so important?
  • House training 101
  • What type of training is best? Group or private in-home classes?

Sign up online at The Family Dog.


Pavan’s Spring Tennis Camp for Ladies June 1st - 4th at Flanders Valley Tennis Club

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How many times have you heard how envious I was of London and Maddie’s Munchkin tennis classes with Coach Pavan?  Well, I have no more excuses… now Pavan’s Tennis Training Acadmey is offering a Ladies Spring Tennis Camp from Tuesday, June 1st through Friday, June 4th from 10am until Noon at the Flanders Valley Tennis Club.

The cost is $200 for the four-day camp with the following schedule:

10:00am-10:30am:  Live Ball Warm-Up & Drills

10:30am-11:00am:  Stroke of the Day

11:00am-11:30am:  Doubles Strategy

11:30am-12:00 noon: Doubles Round Robin

Pavan Patel as well as Marc Massaad, Maja Zivcicova, and Len Fass will be the pros for the camp.  Call (973) 479-1329 or sign up online and be sure to let Pavan know that Roxy sent you!


Pavan’s Tennis Academy is Moving in May 2010… to Flanders Valley Tennis Club, Flanders NJ

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On and off for the past four years, London and Maddie have taken tennis lessons with Pavan Patel through Pavan’s Tennis Academy at Fox Chase Tennis Club in Chester, NJ, and Pavan also runs an awesome summer tennis camp for kids of all ages (kindergarten through high school). Pavan Patel was one of the first United States tennis instructors to introduce “Quick Start Tennis,” popular in Europe, to his lessons and clinics here in New Jersey. Last summer, London and Maddie spent three hours a day with Pavan for one week in August and both girls dramatically improved their strokes and presence on the tennis court.

So I was disappointed (because Flanders is too far to drive for after school tennis lessons and my girls don’t want to play at Fox Chase without Pavan) to receive the following email from Pavan in mid-February:

As many of you know, I have resigned and ended my tenure at Fox Chase Tennis Club effective May 22, 2010. However, I am very pleased to announce that as of May 23, 2010 I will commence training and coaching as a joint partner & shareholder of the Flanders Valley Tennis Club. In this new and exciting venture I will expand Pavan’s Tennis Training Center (formerly Pavan’s Tennis Academy) at Flanders Valley Tennis Club. This exciting change will allow me and my talented staff to offer an elite level of coaching service and development for junior and adult players of all levels.

I also want to take this opportunity and thank Greg for allowing me to coach at Fox Chase Tennis Club. During the last six years at Fox Chase I have made more friends than I could have ever hoped for. It has been a privilege to work with and share my teachings with the men, women, and children at Fox Chase and I shall cherish each and every memory. To all of you who have supported me and Pavan’s Tennis Academy over the last six years, thank you.

My tennis philosophy is not only to instill in adults and children a love of the game but also to provide a sport that will allow recreational players to keep fit and healthy for the rest of their lives.

Competitive players, on the other hand, will be challenged by me and my professional staff to reach the heights of elite tennis whether they wish to compete in USTA events, play for their high school team or play at the collegiate level.

To fully explain our programs and to tour the club, I intend to hold a number of open houses at the end of March and later in the first week of May. Further information about the summer camps will be sent to you in the next few weeks.

From my new home at Flanders Valley Tennis Club I look forward to offering you my expanded service that will include:

  • Junior tennis development programs from beginner to elite levels
  • Personalized coaching programs for adults and juniors of all levels; to include competitive players
  • Tailored coaching programs for groups
  • Cardio tennis
  • Round robins for all levels
  • USTA Tournament
  • Personalized strength training program

The changes don’t stop there! Flanders Valley Tennis Club will undergo extensive refurbishment over the next few months in preparation for our new advanced operations. Our new modernized club will offer upgraded facilities to make your visit to Flanders Valley Tennis Club an enjoyable one. Special emphasis will be placed on your child’s development with homework centers, incorporating iMac computers, being an integral feature of the new club. Upgraded facilities will include:

  • iMac equipped homework center for the kids
  • Lounge, incorporating one 52″ and two 42″ TV’s
  • New carpeting
  • Gas fireplace
  • Upgraded bathrooms and changing facilities
  • Six (6) resurfaced indoor tennis courts
  • New court nets
  • New court dividers
  • Four (4) outdoor tennis courts
  • Outdoor swimming pool and much, much more…..

Pavan’s Tennis Academy will expand under a new name, Pavan’s Tennis Training Center. The training center will offer you and your children expert and elite tennis by our highly qualified coaching staff, Pavan Patel, Marc Massaad and Maja Zivcicova.

I am also very excited to announce a new summer program for intermediate, advanced intermediate, USTA, JV and varsity levels at Flanders Valley Tennis Club from June 21, 2010 through August 23, 2010, 9:00am-3:00pm. This will be the first time that our summer program will include tennis, swimming, and round robin.

Approximate times for Summer Camp:

9am -3pm (High Performance, USTA Level, High School JV, Varsity Tennis, Swimming and Round Robin)
9am -12 noon (Beginner & Low Intermediate Tennis only)
9am -1pm (Beginner & Low Intermediate, Intermediate and swimming)
10am -12 noon (Beginner & Low Intermediate Tennis only)
9am-10am (Quick Start Tennis only Age 4-7)
9am -12 noon (Quick Start, Arts & Craft & Swimming Age 6-8)

Please visit Pavan’s Tennis Training Center for more information


Pavan Patel

  • 22 years coaching experience
  • Specializes in a player’s development program
  • PTR and USPTA certified
  • Was 2000 PTR national Tester of the year
  • Was 2001 PTR Pro of the year
  • Worked with the world’s best such as Amanda Coetzer, who reached world ranking #3
  • Was a ranked player in India (Top 3)
  • 1986 Compete in Indian tennis circuit and Ranked #3 in India Under 18
  • 1987-1990 played ITF Satellite and challenger tournaments
  • 1986-87 Played Junior Davis Cup

Marc Massaad

  • PTR Certified Tennis Teaching Professional
  • 2003 PTR New Jersey Professional Tennis Teacher of the Year Award
  • 2005 Humanitarian Award through the PTR
  • 2005 Volunteer of the Year Award through the PTR
  • Former Director of (Tennis Sparta Tennis Club) Sparta, NJ.
  • Director at Panther Valley Racquet Club, Summer Season

Maja Zivcicova

  • PTR Certified Tennis Teaching Professional
  • 2006 - 2008 St. John’s University Women’s Tennis Team Division I (Captain) Played position #1 in singles and doubles
  • ITF Juniors (World Ranking) Career High Singles #149, Doubles #114
  • ITF junior ranking in 1999 was higher than currently world No. 1 Danara Safina (WTA)
  • Trained with former Professional Czech tennis player Hana Mandlikova (Winner of 1985 US Open and 1987 Austrian Open)
  • Staff Teaching Professional at Sport Time, Harbor Island, NY

As you can see I am truly excited about the new opportunities at Flanders Valley Tennis Club and extend an invitation to all of you to share it with me and Pavan’s Tennis Training Center.

If you have any questions or wish to speak with me personally regarding a specialized tennis program for you or your child e-mail me at ptatennis at mac dot com or please call me at (973) 479-1329

I am always available to discuss your recreational or competitive needs.


Pavan Patel


From Roxy’s Mailbag: Fall Festival and Benefit with a Horse and Farm Life Theme, October 17th in Tewksbury, NJ

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Hi Roxy,

I was browsing your site (it is terrific!) and wanted to let you know that we are hosting a fall festival and benefit with a horse and farm life theme on October 17th from 1 to 4pm at Center Line Farm in Tewksbury, NJ.

The festival will benefit two very worthy local organizations. The first is Animeals which helps seniors on the Meals on Wheels program to maintain their pets at home by providing food and litter to them. They found that the seniors were feeding their pets before feeding themselves with the Meals on Wheels provisions. The second beneficiary is a small handicapped riding program: Freedom Horse, based in Long Valley, New Jersey, which is dedicated to Hippotherapy.  Freedom Horse also provides horse rescue and rehabilitation.

The day’s activities will include pony rides for the kids, adult trail rides on Clysdale horses, a tractor pull hay ride, a bouncey-bounce, armchair massages, pumpkin and face painting, a walk about petting “zoo” of miniature farm animals, music and food as well as five demonstrations. Enjoy Center Line Farm’s own precision drill team riding to music, and watch a roping demonstration, a lady farrier (blacksmith who puts shoes on horses), a horse chiropractor adjusting a horse, and a dog agility demo run through their paces.

The kids are invited to come in costume and participate in a Halloween parade with or without their dog. Prizes will be awarded in four categories.

Parking is $10 and the demos are free. Chits can be purchased for all of the activities. Food will be available for purchase as well. Come out and enjoy the horse and farm activities and help our two worthy causes. If you would like to bring a bag of dog or cat food or kitty litter for our needy canine and feline friends, that would be greatly appreciated. There is something for everyone and is guaranteed to be fun for the entire family

Center Line farm is located on Route 517 in Tewksbury, just one half mile north of the Fairmount light or three miles south of the center of Long Valley.Visit Center Line farm’s website ( for more information or call (908) 832-9448.


Dear Marilyn,

While I have not yet established a Roxy’s Best Of… Hunterdon County or Tewksbury site, I’m happy to include your event as part of Roxy’s Best Of… Chester, NJ.

Sounds like great fun for a couple of great causes.



36th Annual Fall Craft Show in Chester, NJ: Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, September 13th

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Experience a wide variety of hand made items including traditional craft, fine art and country crafts at Chester’s 36th annual Fall Craft Show. The event returns to Chester, New Jersey, next weekend: Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, September 13th from 10:00am until 5:00pm, rain or shine. Chester’s Fall Craft Show was featured in Sunshine Artist Magazine’s Top 200 Craft Shows and is one of the largest in New Jersey, showcasing over 250 unique exhibitors. Artists and craftspeople from around the country will be showing off their hand-made work. If you’re one of those people who has started their holiday shopping, you’ll find unique gifts for everyone on your list as well as beautiful handcrafted furnishings for your home. $5 admission, though you’ll find postcards around town with a coupon for $1 off single admission. For more information call 973-377-6600.